Sunday, October 05, 2008

Five Thoughts on the Falcons

1. Last season, the Packers were the best team in the NFC (or they were at least 1a with the Cowboys) and the Falcons were positively dreadful. On Sunday, the Falcons won at Lambeau Field and the result wasn't especially surprising. The moral of the story: fortunes can change very quickly in the NFL. I was wailing last year that the Falcons had so many holes that it would be several years before the team could compete. I seriously underestimated the effect that a good draft, a good free agent signing, and a better coach can have. Also, I probably underestimated the effect that Vickkampf and Bobby Petrino had on last year's team.

2. I've said this before, but it's a real joy watching Michael Turner run. Turner is so good that one can make a legitimate argument that the Chargers should have kept him and let LaDainian Tomlinson go. This would be a heresy to most in the media, not to mention the Chargers' fan base, but this is Tomlinson's eighth season. In his first seven seasons, he's carried the ball over 100 times and had over 50 receptions each year. (In Tomlinson's defense, he's been remarkably healthy and durable over that period.) That is a hell of a lot of mileage for a back. He has "depreciating asset" written all over him. Turner, because of light use over the first four years of his career, would be a better long-term investment so long as the players are close to one another in actual ability.

3. I don't know where this offensive line has come from, but it's gone from being a major liability to a somewhat significant asset in one year. With Todd Weiner healthy, Sam Baker holding his own as a rookie, Harvey Dahl turning into our Esa Tikkanen, and Justin Blalock improving significantly, the line is better in four of the five spots. Going into the year, the rationale for keeping Matt Ryan on the sidelines for his rookie season was that he would get killed in front of the Falcons' blockers. That has not turned out to be the case at all.

4. The Jamaal Anderson sackless streak has reached 21 games. He's only 35 games away from Joe DiMaggio, so to speak. With the offense looking passable, the Falcons' priorities for the coming offseason read like this (in no particular order): defensive end, defensive tackle, cornerback, safety.

5. Relating to point four, if the Falcons are going to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, John Abraham has to stay healthy. For all the flack we've given to Rich McKay over the years, the Abraham deal has worked out fairly well.


jrsuicide said...

so what does your Falcons draft wish list look like? i've gotta agree that a defensive lineman should probably be the top pick. either Auburn DT Sen'Derrick Marks or LSU's Ricky Jean-Francois. i'm also thinking that the Falcons need to find themselves a tight end to go with our suddenly lethal receiving corp. drafting secondary help has mostly been a pain in the ass in recent years so i'd rather see Atlanta go out and sign a saftey and a corner.

jrsuicide said...

also snagging Ga Tech's defensive end Michael Johnson would make up for the poor choice of taking Anderson (one would hope)...but the way the Falcons are playing i doubt our record will be bad enough to get Johnson who will probably be a top 5 pick.

blackertai said...

I'd like to see them take Francois with a high pick, and then focus some attention on some developmental prospects to backup the O-line. It's playing out of it's mind right now, you're right, but we can't expect that to continue for too long.

RYNO said...


Adam said...

Totally agree with you on Turner, he could do much more.